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Finding Old Cemetaries

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I Am Sure This Has Been Posted Before.


I travel the Land and find Myself stopping many times on the backroads, at old cemetaries.


For some reason I find this an enjoyment for Me, and an educational experience. I find reading the info., that I see, so interesting, when I return home, I try and find info on Some of The Ones I find.


Living in the South, I find this is an easy Task, since so many old cemetaries remain, in out of the way areas. (just stopping by, sitting awhile, looking, reading, and thinking)


Am I That Strange?

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Strange or not, I also have for years, enjoyed finding old cemeteries. There is one in Juneau that has a lot of old russian graves, and also contains a lot of victims of an old ship wreck , The Princess Sophia I think. Kind of a mini Titanic in southeast Alaska.


Also a lot of old graves will have old photos of the person on the headstone. An intreguing thing, to see who is buried there in an old photo.




"See the wonderous works of Providence! The uncertainty of human things!" Geo.Washington

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Maybe...but if so, I'm strange, too icon_razz.gif


My mom-in-law got me started on stopping at old cemeteries. Her kids complain that on all their vacations growing up they spent half the time in graveyards en route.


She recently had a lot of surgeries and is temporarily bedridden and bored out of her mind. Once she's on her feet again I want to take her out to do some transcriptions and rubbings. One local cemetery has horse drawn carriage rides and points out the graves of famous folks so maybe we'll do that, too.


I recently read/heard that cemeteries are a great place to go when you are upset because it puts your problems into proper perspective. icon_wink.gif

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The Victorians viewed cemeteries kind of the way we view a park (before geocaching), as a place to sit, visit with family etc. They were comfortable with death. Modern American culture is phobic about death and finds cemeteries and memorials creepy and disturbing. I've always loved old cemeteries. People expressed their grief and love in beautiful ways. They did not bury them and forget them the way modern society does.


Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes

On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so:

"Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges --

"Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!"


Rudyard Kipling , The Explorer 1898

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I guess we're not alone. I have a book called A Guide to Old Burial Grounds of New Jersey. If someone wrote a guide, there must be enough interest.


I like the stories that some of the headstones tell...or sometimes the mystery behind them. One gravestone that comes to mind is that of the Smith family, who lost 5 children, ranging from 5 years old to 18, over a 30 day period in Sept 1863. The parents however went on to live into their 80's, with the wife dying in 1890 and the husband in 1894. I've often wondered what the story was behind that.


"You can only protect your liberties in this world, by protecting the other man's freedom. "You can only be free if I am" -Clarence Darrow

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In October of the year 1918, in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, on a starless night, a passenger steamer, The Princess Sophia, left Skagway on route to Vancouver. It was one of the last runs before winter, and potential passengers scrambled to get bookings. As the boat left the harbor, the wind began to rise; a winter storm was on the way. The captain made haste down the Lynn Canal to stay ahead of the storm, bearing down from the North. At full speed the Sophia struck Vanderbilt Reef, 45 miles north of Juneau, Alaska. An SOS was sent, and ships hurried to rescue the passengers.


The ship sat firmly grounded on that rock while several rescue vessels circled. Tragically the captain did not order the passengers and crew to abandon ship. He was waiting for the heavy storm to subside to transfer the passengers to safety; ship to ship tranfer was dangerous in the midst of a squall.


The following night the weather worsened , and the ship was battered by wind and waves. The rescue boats, standing by, fled for shelter. Without warning the Princess Sophia was torn from the rocks and quickly plunged beneath the surface. The sea and wind and rocks had cracked open the Princess Sophia and spilled all aboard into the freezing water, sending 353 souls to their deaths.


Two days later an oil soaked dog appeared at Tee Harbour, the only survivor.

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I not only enjoy visiting old cemeteries in the region, but I even go out with friends to clean them up and remove old, damaged trees that have fallen or look like they may fall on some of the tombstones. Plus, I've even found some of my ancestors buried in some of them.


The Buzzard's: ZiggyStardust

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I guess I'm not that strange after all.A few years back,I found out that we had(Lebanon,Ohio) a Civil War Hero who was given a C.M.H.and was layed to rest in this cemetary.After some hard research I was able to "dig" up some info about him (no pun intended) and publish his story in the town news paper,all but forgotten over the years.I know who you are James Burns...God bless you and God bless the Union!!! So it seems that hanging out in old cemetaries is not that weired after all,you just might learn something.

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